[SW341] 8/25/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
The Cure for Hypocrisy
Text: Matthew 7:1-12
Jesus addresses these next verses to hypocrites, those who are religious counterfeits, actors assuming the role of the holy and righteous, but inwardly, they have impure, sin-filled hearts. It is the same way, in today’s church.
But before I speak to today’s church, listen to Jesus’ words —
Verses 1-2 —
Remember that Jesus is speaking to the multitudes, to His disciples, and to the scribes (experts in the Law of Moses) and Pharisees, who constantly tried to trick Him into speaking something contrary to the Law of Moses, so they could accuse and judge Him. And He is speaking just as boldly to today’s church!
Therefore, Jesus says, Do not judge so as to condemn to hell, and you will not be judged and condemned to hell. For in the way you judge and condemn, you will be judged and condemned by the Lord, and by your standard of measure for appropriate punishment, it will be measured to you — that is, you will be punished by the Lord.
The scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites. They placed great burdens on the backs of the Jews, and condemned and shunned them for even the smallest infraction of ceremonial law. John the Baptist called them a brood of vipers (Matthew 3:7).
Despite their outward attempts to appear righteous and holy, the scribes’ and Pharisees’ actions revealed that their hearts were filled with sin. They even refused to recognize the Messiah who stood before them, because He threatened the power structure they had so carefully built.
Here is a sample of Jesus’ indictments of them —
Matthew 23:13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”
Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte (convert to Judaism); and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.”
Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Matthew 12:34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
Matthew 23:33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”
It was the scribes and Pharisees then, but I tell you there are many actors on the stage of today’s church — ones who are equally guilty and whose hearts are equally dark! They have a form of godliness, but renounce the Lord’s power to change a human heart (2Timothy 3:5)! Turn away from such men as these!
You know that you see it in the headlines all the time. It grieves me to report that what has been exposed is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, by the standard of measure used by the hypocrites, the actors, the religious counterfeits, it will be measured to them. They condemn, so they will be condemned.
Verses 3-4 —
Hypocrites point at the speck in their fellow believer’s eye, but do not see the log (beam of timber) of hypocrisy in their own eye. Their beam of timber obscures their view! Blinded by their own hypocrisy, they certainly cannot offer to help their brother remove his speck! Indeed, they are blind guides!
Behold! Is there a log in your own eye? Are you a religious counterfeit, an actor assuming the role of the holy and righteous, while you hide your own sin?
Are you quick to judge your brothers and sisters in Christ, so as to condemn them to hell? Do you see their sin and point a finger at them rather than calling them to repent so they are forgiven, and calling them to be filled with the Holy Spirit so their hearts are purified?
God knows your heart! Nothing is hidden from the eyes of Him with whom you have to do (Hebrews 4:13)!
Many of today’s preachers and teachers have applied this whole passage to all Christians, rather than hypocrites. They conclude that Christians cannot judge anyone (including our fellow Christians), and that is a partial truth.
But here is the rest of the story, beloved — it is essential that we judge sin in the church. Paul writes —
1Corinthians 5:11 But actually I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES (Deuteronomy 22:24, 24:7).
The Expositors Bible Commentary confirms that the expected reply to “Do you not judge those who are within the church?” is “Yes!” The brother who sins must be removed, until he repents.
John Wesley’s penitent bands served that purpose. Sinning Christians weren’t condemned to hell, nor were fingers pointed at them, in his “societies.” But they were removed from the congregation until they heeded Christ’s words, saw the poverty of their hearts, and cried out for Him to change them. When Wesley saw the fruit of repentance in them, they were invited to rejoin the rest of the believers.
Verse 5 —
Jesus boldly and frankly says, You hypocrites, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. How do you, a hypocrite like I used to be, take the log out of your own eye? By heeding Jesus’ words, seeing the poverty of your heart, and crying out for Him to change it. The beam of timber will instantly be gone, when He answers by crucifying the sin nature in you and filling you with His Spirit! Then, blessed will you be!
Verse 6 —
Do not give what is holy to dogs, or they will tear you to pieces. Do not cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample you with their feet.
Not everyone will receive the truth you give them. Therefore, be filled with the Holy Spirit so you have discernment as to the state of the hearts of some. You must give (speak) the treasures of the gospel, which is holy, and which is the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:46). But expect dogs and swine to retaliate, just as they did throughout the Book of Acts!
Verses 7-8 —
But here is the cure for hypocrisy! Ask (beg, crave) and the cure will be given to you. Seek (passionately desire) the cure, and you will find it. Knock (on the door of heaven, the source of the cure), and it will be opened to you.
Why should you ask, seek and knock? For (because) everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him to knocks, it will be opened! And no one can shut what Jesus opens (Isaiah 22:22)! Blessed are you if you ask, seek and knock!
What are you asking, seeking and knocking in order to receive? Money? Fame? Success? Happiness? Peace? Joy? He will not open to you. But ask, seek and knock for this one thing only — heart change by way of the infilling of the Holy Spirit! Then He will open the door to you! Hallelujah!
Verses 9-11 —
If you ask for a loaf of bread, no man among you will give you a stone. If you ask for a fish, no man among you will give you a snake.
So, if you who are evil (because the sin nature in you is alive and well) know to give your children what they ask for, then how much more will your Father in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?
What is the good He will give? The infilling of the Holy Spirit, just as the Spirit-inspired Luke writes in Luke 11:13!
Verse 12 —
Therefore, because your Father in heaven gives what is good to those who ask Him, you do the same — “treat people the way you want them to treat you.” But that is a poor interpretation, inserted by the NASB editors.
Your Father in heaven gives what is good (the Holy Spirit) to those who ask Him! So, go and do likewise, after you are filled! This is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets! Give the Holy Spirit to those who ask you, just as Paul always did —
Acts 19:1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them (entered them), and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 7 There were in all about twelve men.
Now, I must speak bluntly to today’s believers. As I said at the beginning, there are many hypocrites among the congregations of today’s sin-soaked church.
Today’s hypocrites profess to love the Lord but are actors who, outside and within the church walls, commit immorality, covet power, and rail against others behind their backs. Peter calls such ones stains and blemishes who revel in their deceptions, and goes on to say much more about them, in 2Peter 2:13-22! Go there with me!
Painful words produce godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2Corinthians 7:10). Many churches are dying because no painful words are spoken to the hypocrites. Therefore, for their lifetimes, they maintain their positions in the church.
But what will the hypocrites say when they stand before Jesus? And what will their leaders say, for they did not speak painful words to the hypocrites, for fear of reprisal and less money in the offering plate?
Many who are being drawn by the Father to His Son come to church, but find hypocrisy there. So they leave and never return. If this is Christianity, they will say, who wants it? That is why Paul warns the believers at Corinth —
1Corinthians 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one.
Beware, believer! Do not be counted among the hypocrites, but heed Jesus’ words today. If you see yourself in Jesus’ words, that means you have headed His words and have seen the poverty-stricken condition of your heart.
Now that you have seen your heart’s darkness, cry out for Him to change your heart, for He will do it! Then, supremely blessed will you be, for you will be free of your hypocrisy and filled with His Spirit and His love!
Beloved, Matthew 7:1-12 has been rendered painless and toothless by a stubborn and willful people — even the church! I have been sent to call you to sorrow that is according to God’s will, and to repentance. I have spoken the truth. Lord Jesus, may many in Your church repent! Amen.